Our parks, wildfires, and costs to local economy

By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Founding Publisher
September 13, 2018

A young couple who had come all the way from Hamburg, Germany, to see Yosemite National Park admitted how disappointed they were when they found out they would not be allowed in the park.

They had saved for many years, and wanted to make it a very special experience, so they rented a red Mustang convertible to see the wonders of the park.

As it turned out, they were only allowed to take the road over Tioga Pass and into Lee Vining. Instead of seeing Yosemite, they spent their money visiting Las Vegas.

Nobody can possibly estimate the actual cost to California as a result of the forest fires. The state will see the cost in Cal Fire, but the cost in terms of lost business will be much higher, and it would have to be calculated by interviewing hundreds of thousands of merchants.

Hotels and motels, as well as restaurants, at anyone of the entrance cities to the park will have certainly felt the impact. The summer vacation season is so short and the fire cut out much of the very best time for vacationers visiting Yosemite.

In a recent editorial we saluted the firefighters for their outstanding efforts in fighting forest fires in California, however, we did not mention the business people who suffered the tremendous loss of income from tourists who cancelled their plans to visit the state.

Some of these mom and pop businesses will have to borrow money to make it through next year, and then will have to pray that another fire doesn’t mar the tourist season.

We would like to take a moment in saluting those independent business people who stand ready to serve, even in the worse of times. While they may not have lost a home, or the business in the fire, their loss was significant.

We encourage everyone to stop by these merchants, and say: “Thanks for staying in business, we need you, and hope you will be here to make it up next year.”


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